The new age photography provisions and the HD capabilities is greatly upgraded in the new Nikon D5100, and compared to its predecessor it even promises to build upon those which are offered on the high end D7000. The new D5100 offers the user with the choices of 720p or 1080p each, at 24, 25 or 30fps, which is definitely a promotion when we compare it to the old D5000 that offered only 720p HD video at 24fps.
The old D5000 provided with the option of manual focus, when filming. But the new D5100 has the feature of the continuous AF capabilities, similar to the D3100 and the D7000. This is the major factor that separates it from Canon as the latter doesn’t provide the option of autofocusing, continuously, while filming.
The motion JPEG encoding of the D5000 has even been included in favor of the more modern and much efficient H.264, and the new model of Nikon has been provided with an external input for a microphone. There is still no manual control over exposures, which comes as a very annoying feature for most of the users, but the D5100 can inherit the selected aperture before entering the Live View if required, which is a feature similar to its predecessor. Therefore, the D5100 can be easily considered a proper upgrade from its previous version because of the addition of 1080p, continuous AF, multiple frame rates, microphone input slot and a more efficient compression.
The D5100 has considerable lack of vertical streaking when shot with light reflections which is easily visible if we concentrate on a video file shot with it, which is a benefit since there is a CMOS sensor. Only if a file is played with the audio, a squeaking sound is audible which is due to the new AF-F autofocus mode, that results in the lens to autofocus every time and thus results in such a sound. Moreover, there is no dedicated exposure with manual controls, unlike the latest models presented by Canon, but this model can obtain the aperture selected in Manual models or Aperture priority before entering Live View, which is feature present in every new Nikon model. The maximum time provided for recording is twenty minutes and that is double of what is provided by the D3100 and quadruple of that provided by the D5000. Filming it at 1080p for 20 minutes can easily save your file under the additional limit of 4 gigabytes. The company recommends its users to use Class 6 cards or advanced for filming HD movies. This is much better as a choice because Canon models require a lot of memory to save HD and normal motion files and thus can be considered as “memory hungry”.
The encoding of the video and audio is using H.264 and is stored using the compressor which is similar to that of the Canon models, a Quicktime MOV wrapper, only used at a lower bit rate for providing smaller file size. The D5100 has a built in microphone and in the upgrade there is a port for connecting a 3.5mm jack for an external stereo microphone. The recording levels for the audio can be set to automatic or you can adjust it according to low, medium or high sensitivity. There remains a scope to disable audio recording as well. One of the most exclusive features of the D5100 is the provision to autofocus continuously while filming. This is due to the fact that it has inherited the Full-time Servo AF mode from the D3100 and the D7000. Unlike the Canon models, you do not have to force the camera to repeatedly perform the process of autofocus and hence eliminating an unpleasant audio-visual experience.